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Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Family Photos

Over the weekend, we got together with some friends of ours and their kids at a Junipero Serra Park to take some family photos. It was hard to get Calvin to look at the camera when his own mama and daddy weren't there to get his attention, but he is a cutie from any angle! We also took some pics of the kiddos all together, and one group shot of all the families. 

Here are the best pics... Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rough Night, Honey?

Here's a conversation James and I had a week or so ago:

James: (Has just come home from work) Rough night last night, honey?

Diana: (Not fully remembering what happened the night before) Um, yeah I guess it was. Calvin was pretty fussy... I had a hard time helping him go to sleep.

James: Yeah, I saw you had drunk half a bottle of wine so I figured it must've been -

Diana: (Defensive) I did not drink half a bottle of wine! If I had drunk that much wine I would have been passed out -

James: Well, you were! You were asleep on top of the covers in your clothes!

Diana: (Confused... then remembers what actually happened and starts cracking up laughing) BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And then I explained what had actually happened...

My cousin Hartley (who lives upstairs) came by the apartment when he got home from work. He ended up hanging out and having dinner with me (I had made a big pot of chili). We had even started playing a board game (Lords of Waterdeep). We also opened a bottle of wine and we each had a glass.

I had already put Calvin to bed, but Calvin was fussier than usual and kept waking up crying. Our game and our dinner kept getting interrupted so that I could go soothe Calvin and get him back to sleep. Finally I had to just bail on Hartley and lie down with Calvin because it was clear that he was not going to stay asleep on his own. So we cleaned up the game, put it away, and I went to go put Calvin to sleep. Once Calvin was finally out, I was so tired I didn't bother getting ready for bed. I just crashed in my clothes on top of the covers. So when James came home he found a half-empty bottle of wine and me asleep in my clothes!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Calvin's Birth Story

Our little man is 6 months old! Woo hoo! To honor his first half-birthday, I'd like to share his birth story.

We take Calvin's picture in the laundry basket every month .
Here's his 6 month pic! He is getting so big!

I looked like the great pumpkin. Or, at least my big 9-month-pregnant belly did. It was bigger than a basketball, for sure. Maybe like the setting sun. Or a harvest moon. But it wasn’t fall, it was the day before Easter and we were finally getting around to taking some nice maternity photos. I had wanted to do this photo shoot during month 7 or at least month 8 while I was still cute-pregnant instead of great-pumpkin-pregnant, but oh well.

I was 36 weeks pregnant. We were all set to have a home birth, although we knew all along that we would transfer to the hospital in a heartbeat if necessary. All our home birth supplies were organized in Trader Joe’s bags lined up on the kitchen table. The rest of the baby stuff wasn’t ready yet. I figured I had at least a couple more weeks of maternity leave to wash the baby clothes, organize the baby’s dresser, move the bassinet into the bedroom, and install the car seat.

We had just had our “birth team meeting” with the people we expected to be at the birth: our two wonderful midwives, my mom (via Skype, as she was still across the country where she lives), James and myself, and my 90-year-old Filipino grandmother who lives upstairs. I was so excited! I was excited about being a mom, about meeting the tiny boy who was relentlessly kicking my belly, excited to see James become a dad... I was even excited about labor. We had taken an amazing home birth preparation class series that truly made me feel a sense of empowerment and a desire to do the work of labor. Emotionally we were ready. The house... the baby clothes... the car seat... we figured we still had time to get that stuff ready.

Calvin had other plans!

After the photo shoot, I was tired (of course) and hungry (duh) so we went to dinner. We were at a random restaurant we had never been to before, and as we dug into our desserts around 9:00 that evening something very very surprising happened.

My water broke.

My water broke! In a restaurant! I mean, that only happens in movies, right?! Um, no. It happened to us. My water broke at the restaurant. And our frazzled waitress kept trying to get us to take our apple crisp and crème brulee to go!

To say that we were shocked would be an understatement. I mean, I wasn’t even having contractions! I was only at 36 weeks! How could my water have broken?!

I called our primary midwife, Michelle, from the car. It was kind of a tricky situation; things were not exactly going as planned. 36 weeks is technically outside the window of a safe home birth. My midwives’ guideline is 37-42 weeks. Also, the fact that my water had broken early left the baby at risk for infection, and my GBS test results weren’t back from the lab so we couldn’t know exactly how big a risk of infection. To further complicate matters, Michelle had another client in labor at that exact same time!

Ultimately, it was decided that it would be safest for me to go to the hospital. Michelle expected the other mother’s labor to go faster than mine since I wasn’t having contractions yet, so our other midwife, Sue, would meet us at the hospital and Michelle would come as soon as she could after the other birth.

There sat all our home birth supplies, ready to go and totally not needed. In a rush, we packed a hospital bag, installed the car seat, and a booked a red-eye flight for my mom. And then we sat and waited for the baby clothes to finish washing and drying. We got to the hospital around 12:30. Sue arrived shortly after we did. She helped us settle into our room and encouraged me to try to sleep. She left after an hour or so to go help Michelle with the other birth.

The doctor on call said that if my contractions didn’t become regular by noon the next day, they would recommend inducing labor with pitocin. It turned out that was not necessary because by noon the next day, Calvin had already made his entrance!

By about 4 am my contractions were regular, but still more than 10 minutes apart. My biggest complaint about laboring in the hospital rather than at home is that the monitors they made me wear were really uncomfortable and kept falling off. I was also hooked up to an IV of antibiotics because of the GBS thing (that would have been the case even if I’d been at home). Still, although I know I would have been more comfortable in my own apartment, that totally wasn’t on my mind at the time. I was so excited to actually be in labor that I didn’t care at all that we’d had to go to the hospital! I used a stability ball and a yoga mat (and James) to help me stretch and rest in between contractions and I was able to get some sleep.

Around 7 am, the nurses said they had to move us to a different room because they needed the room we were in for another delivery. They weren’t expecting me to deliver for several more hours so they put us in an admitting room rather than a delivery room. I was able to eat some breakfast and I kept going to sleep in between contractions... so it was actually kind of a shock to me when the contractions that were waking me up suddenly became really intense! I have to admit that I started to doubt my ability to endure the contractions without help... the word “epidural” started taunting me from the back of my mind and I was having this struggle with myself for doubting my own strength.

One of my sisters-in-law had told me that when the pain feels so strong that you think you can’t take any more, you are probably very close to giving birth... and she was so right! That was about 9:30 am. The next 20 minutes were a total frenzy: Even though my contractions were really intense, they were still 8 minutes apart – not close enough to call the midwives about, and not close enough to get the nurses’ attention. What did get the nurses’ attention were the animalistic moans that I was making no effort to hold back.

A flock of nurses descended upon us with a flurry of questions. Why are you trying to push? I don’t know! I can’t stop it! Has she been checked?  No! Is she fully dilated? A doctor came in and discovered to everyone's surprise that yes, I was indeed fully dilated! Push! Push! I AM!

But we weren’t in a delivery room! I implored the nurses not to make me move, but they wouldn’t relent. They sped me down the hall in a wheelchair in between contractions. I barely had time to make it to the bed in the new room before Calvin was crowning! Three pushes later, James was helping the doctor “catch” our tiny boy and not long after that, they were putting him into my arms. He was born at 9:53 am on Easter Sunday.

First family photo!

James had texted the midwives when the doctor said I was fully dilated, and Sue was on her way, but it had all happened so quickly that she arrived just after Calvin was born. My mom and one of my cousins came shortly after. Michelle wasn't able to make it to us until the next day because the other mom ended up giving birth several hours after I had. 

Calvin with his Granny Anne

Brown hair, brown eyes, and rosy skin that would later turn out to be an olive complexion. Mom's nose and Dad's mouth. Mushy, chubby cheeks and one adorable dimple! The nurses couldn't stop cooing over his cuteness. 6 lbs, 2 oz. No trouble breathing. Cried right away and peed on the doctor! How like a boy! I still cannot get over how deliciously cute he is, both in these first pictures and now! He sure surprised all of us! He was in a very big hurry to meet the world! 

Getting home from the hospital and beginning our adventure as parents to this tiny boy is a whole 'nother story. Calvin had lots more surprises in store for us, and I'm sure he still does! His birth felt like a whirlwind of excitement and joy; not easy, but completely amazing. It left us in shock and awe. I am still new at this, but I'm thinking that was a pretty good sneak preview of the experience of parenting. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pic Fix

Because I know Calvin's grandparents are dying for some more pics of His Royal Cuteness...

Such a gem to catch a smile when Mama's face keeps going behind the camera!

Imma have dis.

Dis mine now.

Tummy Time!

What have we here?

Is it yummy??

Aaand Bumbo time.

I know this toy is practically covering his face, but it is his favorite!

Who's at the door?

It's Lola Coring!

Yay! Calvin loves his Lola!

Play time ends and nap time begins.

You're welcome ;)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dee-licious Date Truffles

I invented a new dessert: Date Truffles.

Ok, it turns out lots of other cooks and bloggers also invented date truffles. But I would like the record to show that I came up with the idea from my Almond Butter Chocolate Chip version of the homemade "Larabars" recipe and it was only later that I decided to Google "date truffles" to see if this was indeed a new dessert and I discovered sadly that it is not a new dessert on the interwebs. But! It is still a new dessert at my house! And I would like credit for that. Thankyouverymuch.

So! Here is my version of this Dee-lightful dessert:

Dee-licious Date Truffles

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips

For the coating:
cocoa powder to taste
finely chopped walnuts to taste

Puree the dates, almond butter, and chocolate chips in a food processor until the texture is creamy (some of the chocolate chips will still be intact). Scoop out the mush (I used a Tablespoon measuring spoon, but a regular spoon would work. A cookie dough scoop would probably be best but I don't have one!). 

Roll each scoop into a ball, then roll it in the cocoa powder or chopped nuts. James suggested that I roll them in both the cocoa and walnuts, but I declined. Refrigerate the truffles to help them firm up, et Voila! Truffles for all!

The amounts in this recipe would probably make about 10 truffles. As you can see from my pics I doubled it since I was making them for a party. The cocoa powder I used was Hershey's Special Dark and it was a little intense, so I rolled them very lightly. 

Hopefully these will be a hit at our friends' party tonight! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mama in the Night Kitchen

Shhh... do you hear that?

That's right. Not a peep!

Calvin is in bed, James is still slaving away in the lab, and all the dishes are done. For now. What to do? During Calvin's nap times, I am usually running around trying to get as many chores done as possible or squeeze in a treadmill run before he wakes up - and he is the King of Tiny Naps so I always know the clock is ticking! But, bless his little heart he can sleep a decent stretch at night (Thank God!) so once he goes to bed around 8:00 I have some time on my hands before I'm ready to hit the hay myself (or before Calvin's tiny tummy realizes it is hungry again).

I do miss "grown-up time" with James  on nights when he works late, but I have to admit that I enjoy the time to myself! So I have taken to using nights like this to work on some new culinary skills while catching up on my TV shows. I am actually surprised at myself for how relaxed I feel as I'm whipping up something yummy and watching last week's sitcoms online. I have never been one to cook for fun before, I always just thought of cooking as necessary for survival. I was even afraid of our food processor until my recent venture into Larabar Land. But recently I've been motivated to make more things from scratch in order to avoid packaged and processed foods. I figure I've got to clean up my own eating habits if I want my son to grow up eating real, healthy food. And I've actually been having fun with it! - especially when I'm not also putting on a musical cooking show to entertain my little audience of one!

So what's cookin'? Lately I have been waiting to cook dinner for James until after Calvin has gone to bed since James isn't home at a normal dinner time anyway. So some nights I'm just baking pork chops and sweet potatoes or stir frying veggies for some Coconut Curry. Other nights, I get to make things just for fun and just for me. Rignt now I'm on a breakfast bar kick. I started out by trying my hand at these Fruit and Nut bars with Nutella. Then I made these Peanut Butter and Banana Squares. Yum Yum! And lately, of course, I've been making lots of these homemade "Larabars". Tonight I'm going to do a test run of this cashew hummus recipe that I want to make for a party next weekend. I got the idea from my midwife who served something similar at her mom & baby group a couple of weeks ago. And I have a new idea for the "Larabar" recipe... could be genius!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mom-made "Larabars"

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my dear friend Amanda for suggesting that I try making these homemade "Larabars" from 100 Days of Real Food! These are just my speed: super easy to make and super yummy to eat!

You just throw a handful of dried dates in to a food processor and then add stuff like other dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, or chocolate chips. Once all the goodies are chopped, ground, and blended, press them into a rectangle and cut it into bars. (It helps to let it sit in the fridge for a bit before trying to actually pick up one of the bars.)

Here are the combinations I've made so far (did I mention I love making these things??):

Cranberry Walnut

These were my first try. Pretty basic, pretty yummy. I didn't think too hard about the flavor, I just used what I happened to have in my pantry. Not too shabs!

Mango Macadamia

So yummy! I had kind of a hard time getting all the mango and macadamia nuts chopped and blended, so the bars ended up a little chunky which was fine.  Next time I'll chop the mango a little more before putting it in the food processor.


Almond Butter Chocolate Chip

Wow. Just... I can't... I don't even... Just wow.

These are so so ridiculously yummy. To me, it's like eating chocolate chip cookie dough. James said they were kind of like brownies. I let my cousin try one and the next day he texted me to say he couldn't stop thinking about them. I have made like 3 batches in a row of this same flavor because it is so addictive!